UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
Mission Team of College Students of the Church Leaves for Ukraine!
On Friday May 31, 2013, fourteen college students embark on a three weeks-long mission trip to Ukraine in order to minister among the orphaned children of two orphanages with severe mental and physical illnesses. The students – Mission team members of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA have been working for several months in anticipation of this trip – filling out paperwork, fundraising, and praying for God’s power and love to be experienced by all.
For the first time ever, the College Age Mission Team will also include a young lady from Ukraine, Anna Pasakas, a sister of Fr. Vasyl Pasakas, who is a professional nurse in Ukraine, assisting Team members in their efforts to bring spiritual and physical comfort to about 300 children of Znamianka and Puhachiv orphanages of Ukraine.
2013 Mission Team of College Students of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA is sponsored by the Consistory Offices of Youth and Young Adult Ministry as well as the Office of Christian Charity. This year’s Team members include:
His Grace Bishop Daniel – Spiritual Father of the Mission Team
Pani Olga Coffey – Lay Team Leader
Pani-matka Ivanna Wronsky
Subdeacon Yurii Andreiko
Subdeacon Adrian Mazur
His Grace Bishop Daniel, President of the Consistory and Spiritual team leader has commented, "Some of my best experiences in mission have been working with the young adults of the Church for the last 15 years of ministry among the faithful of the UOC of the USA. These young people of the Church are already leaders; to see their leadership grow as they engage in cross-cultural mission keeps me young at heart and always growing. The relationships often continue long past the dates of the mission encounter because of the depth of sharing and the impact upon the shape of lives and ministry."
On May 30th, following the Vespers service, His Grace Bishop Daniel led the orientation for the Mission Team. The bishop spoke of the task that is set before the missionaries: “…to open their hearts to the unknown experience and to expect nothing but love, while offering the love of Christ to those that are in need.” His Grace stated that people often ask, 'Why would you do this Mission Trip? Why would you go to Ukrainian orphanages and spend your own money to go and work with handicapped children?' The answer is quite simple - we need to understand, when you know Christ, this is what you do. You share the love and compassion of Christ with the world, and Ukrainian orphanages that are at times forgotten by the world are the very part of that world.
Each year thousands of people of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA are blessed to witness the Church’s work with the orphan’s in Ukraine. Some of them feel a nudge to do something that benefits someone else. Others are looking for adventure and personal growth. They have a desire to see, experience and discover their Holy Orthodox Faith in new and meaningful ways. Adventure is a way to learn from others and explore what God is doing around the world. When we perceive God working among us and become a part of His mission, we find adventure. The adventure is a result of the mission. On these Mission Trips to Ukrainian Orphanages we love the adventure; however, it is never about the adventure. The mission of Christ’s love comes first."
Following the orientation, the Team spent several hours preparing the suitcases with medical equipment, toys, arts and crafts supplies, which were collected by the parishes of the Church throughout the United Sates of America and shipped to Metropolia Center for the final shipment to Ukrainian orphanages. It is with thirty suitcases of donations and gifts that this year’s Winter Mission Team leaves the United States for Znamianka orphanage in Kirovohrad region and Puhachiv of Zhytomy region of Ukraine.
On Friday morning, the Team met with Hs Eminence Metropolitan Antony, who led a prayer service in the Consistory building, commissioning the above mentioned fourteen individuals as Mission Team Members of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church f the USA. Vladyka Antony reminded the Team members: “All who take upon themselves the name of Christ are called into ministry es of love and service by the example of Christ. As these Mission Team members of our Holy Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA begin their work with the orphans, we pray for the blessings of God upon their endeavors. We recognize them as ambassadors of our Church in ministry with the children of the orphanages and dedicate them to service in the name of our Savior. Through our prayers we will be united with them in their work. May God richly bless their labors.”
We ask our readers and the entire Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA to remember the servants of God – the Missionaries of our Holy Church – His Grace Bishop Daniel, Pani Olga Coffey, Pani-matka Ivanka Wronsky, Subdeacon Yurii Andreiko, Subdeacon Adrian Mazur, Taylor Gladys, Kaitlyn Zimmerman, Irene Onufrey, Paul Micevych, Christopher McNaulty, Alison Sailer, Svitlana Lymar, Lesia Mahlay and Anna Pasakas in their daily prayers.
The Mission Team will remain in Ukraine until May 15th, 2013.
Please, return back to the Church’s web site for the updates on the Missionary efforts of the Team.